• In Fall 2018 we determined at our annual advisory team meeting that it was time for a more concentrated effort to start our school, beginning with finding land and raising funds to purchase it. 
  • Late January 2019 I was notified by the owners of my current house that they wanted to return here and therefore I needed to find a new house/office space/storage space.  WHAT?   THIS WAS NOT IN MY PLANS FOR THE YEAR!
  • Several months of searches for rental properties in the area did not yield any viable options.   Our advisory team and local NGO board determined we should consider buying land and building the needed space.  For now, our dreams of the school/community center would have to be put on the back burner.  Many of you gave, and by late 2019 we had negotiated a property and had an architectural rendering made.   Right before finalizing the land purchase there was of a sudden increase in violence in the area.   DOOR CLOSED!
  • With Alberto the civil engineer, Daniel the architect and Alfonso the iron worker, we began looking at other options and then . . . COVID.  When restrictions eased a bit after the lockdown, we began looking again.   We thought we had found the perfect house in the fall of 2020, and at about the same time a church sold their building and sent us $90K!   This had to be it, right?   But as the attorney was preparing the final paperwork, a glitch was discovered.   DOOR CLOSED!
  • Throughout the next few months we continued the search.  I drug the guys around to many properties and saw several others on my own.  Time after time there were issues: the stability of the structure, the cost of repairs, the expense, title issues, the location.   DOORS CLOSED!
  • The house we focused on in July 2021 seemed like it could be good for us with the bonus of it being move-in ready.   Again, as the attorney was preparing the final paperwork, there was another glitch.  DOOR CLOSED!
  • In mid-August I was driving through a neighborhood, saw a For Sale sign, felt a “nudging” to check it out and prayed that God would give me strength to begin again.   In the end it wasn’t the house for us, but the realtor was!  During the conversation with Mr. Vargas, he told me of land he had for sale in what sounded like our target area between Cercadillo and Vietnan.    Sure enough, two acres of titled land!

We have never found two acres of titled land in all the years we have searched.  I was ecstatic at the thought of what could happen on the land.  But what was God doing?  I immediately told the advisory team and local NGO board members about the land.  They all reminded me that no matter how excited I was about the land that we had to find a house first.    Exactly why I need wise advisors in my life!  

  • In mid-September Mr. Vargas showed me another large house that needed lots of repair but included an empty lot for future expansion.  Again, with the advisory team and local NGO folks, we determined that this could be a wise purchase for us.  There could be office/storage space, residential space and guest space.    After a good bit of negotiating by Mr. Vargas on our behalf, the final offer was $133,000, about $60,000 below the appraisal.  It seemed like such a good deal and because of generous giving we would have enough left for some repairs.   Did you catch that?   We had enough money to buy the house in cash!  And money to repair it!   Are rejoicing with me at that?   I mean, seriously, that is something only God could have pulled off!
  • November 18, 2021, the contracts were signed and my friends, we bought a property!!!  OPEN DOOR!  Plans are being finalized now and the remodeling is scheduled to begin in January. 

As I love to say when I tell this story, “But wait, there is more!”  Remember the two acres in our target area?

  • I was talking with some dear friends and casually mentioned the two acres in a response to the question of what was happening with the school plans.    I said something goofy like, “To buy the land we would need around $100K more than what we have.  Could you look under the sofa cushions and see what you can find?”   They laughed and then told me they would like to give a $50K matching fund.  I laughed thinking they were joking, and then began crying when I realized they were serious.
  • Within a couple of days another person sent $10K totally out of the blue!
  • Members of the advisory team spoke to their church and in one week they over-matched the matching fund.  I didn’t even get a chance to tell anyone else about it!
  • We have enough money to buy the land!  If all goes as planned we will own two acres of titled property by the end of the year!

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is a story only God could write!  A season of closed doors after closed doors, a season of frustration, a season of seemingly delays . . . a season when God was quietly working behind the scenes.   Just as He always does!  When I couldn’t imagine us being able to purchase a house, God was planning to give us not only a house, but also land to begin a permanent site between Cercadillo and Vietnan!   Wow!  Wow! And Wow!

Don’t be too disappointed if you didn’t get to participate in the house or land purchase. You can still join in!  Now it’s time for us to begin asking God for the resources to build.   After the land purchase is finalized a site plan will be developed and I will be sharing that with you.    Tax-deductible donations to help us build (Oh, my gosh, I’m excited to type that!) can be sent through Shepherd’s Staff in the following ways:

PERSONAL CHECKS – Write the check to Shepherd’s Staff and add the identification number in the memo line of the check: 4126A.    Please mail checks to Shepherd’s Staff,  6739 Academy Road NE Suite #320, Albuquerque, NM  87109.

ONLINE DONATIONS – Click on my name and go to Build with Cercadillo, Account #4126A.

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